Born Out Of A Humanitarian Spirit, Reem Alaa Hamed Is Guiding Her Egyptian Shoe Brand RAMLA To New Heights
With a heart for artistry in shoe design, RAMLA has put Egypt on the map with women in the Arab world and around the globe buying the quintessential and unique ‘Made in Egypt’ shoes
“It all started with supporting a single mother and her two young children, aiming to make a decent life after the father died,” remembers Reem Alaa Hamed, the founder of RAMLA on what sparked the business getting started. “It was during Ramadan, and I requested from them to tie some silk threads together to create tassels, little did I know that this would be RAMLAs timeless collection and iconic product, that is always there.”
“This is a business that I gave up my 9-5 interior design work for, just 2 month ago in March 2021, after working in this field for over 5 years. I took the decision for the first time to give RAMLA and my people my full attention. Therefore, one can always see this architectural flare in the designs of RAMLA as a link between architecture and fashion.”
Studying Florence Italy, Hamed got her bachelors in Architecture and Interior Design, and her master’s in Luxury Business. “I started learning the fundamentals of handmade bespoke shoe design and all about the leather industry at a small leather workshop,” says the designer. “It was a hands-on experience that I am truly grateful for, allowing me to connect and experiment with the materials, most important to understand the definition of ‘Made in Italy.’”
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Hamed created RAMLA, a total made in Egypt brand because she wanted her country to have the same kind of craftsmanship that other countries have. “During my Masters I got the opportunity to work with luxury brands, getting a full view on the business on the product side. This experience mesmerized me with the true value and meaning of a “Made in Italy “product, which helped me in building RAMLA, a “Made in Egypt “brand. I decided to merge my studies and with the resources available in my country, it resulted in a lifestyle footwear business brand RAMLA, meaning sand in Arabic.”
Eco-conscience, Hamed is careful brand that, “is all about commitment to quality, organic materials and craftsmanship, carefully respecting the Egyptian culture and tradition and having endless curiosity about what’s coming next,” she muses.
The new collection
The new collection ‘Belonging to the desert sense’ is season-less with strong desert influence, as the northeast African nation is known for its different types of sand and deserts of various textures, colors, shapes, and sounds. Deserts are hot and arid in the day, but there’s something calming and peaceful about them, and Hamed has captured this in the new collection.
“The focus is on the Egyptian Desert context and its surroundings come from reflecting the true identity of RAMLA, as we all belong and feel connected to our culture and heritage and helping in the social community by giving chance to unfold the hidden talents of craftsmanship in a certain way, especially now,” says Hamed.
She incorporated this into the collection by using refined movement and giving attention to clean embroidery lines, which represents the desert in its purest form with sustainable materials, unique silhouettes, and some shoes have modern Arabic calligraphy.
A surge in creative culture in Egypt
Now it is a time of growth in Egypt. There’s a surge of development in the country with stores, shops and brands popping up from the upper and lower Egypt and everywhere in between. The government is striving to make waves in cleaning up the corruption that plagued the country for years by investing in infrastructural projects and collecting taxes, and this is giving way to creativity and to street culture.
“This is a proud moment, the rise of many emerging young designers and artists in Egypt in different fields,” says Hamed. “It is definitely powerful, creating an artistic community or movement of young innovators, where we can all support, motive and help each other in achieving what’s best for one another.”
Continuing she notes, “personally, I see more females expressing themselves through art, translating the culture and traditions in a more daring way by breaking free from traditional work routines. In order to do so, you have to put aside your fears of failure and just focus purely on success and pursing your own passion, using your education and unique talents by doing what you love with dedication and handwork. Today, this has resulted in having local brands competing on an international level. The beauty of art is that it belongs to everybody and nobody, and it never goes out of time, it is there to connect artists allowing them to express themselves at the current moment in history.”
It’s now Ramadan, a holy time in the Islamic faith around the world, a month for reflection, fasting, prayer, discipline, patience, and generosity where Hamed has grown as a designer from the meaning of the month. “Personally, Ramadan is my favorite time of the year,” she notes.
“It is also a time of celebration and joy, where family and friends get together for Iftar, when the fast is broken, to enjoy a nightly break-fast meal together. This creates a highly social season, where women especially like to dress up for different gatherings every day, celebrating this special month, thus as a shoe designer I always enjoy designing and working on a special collection dedicated to this month that emphasis the beauty of our culture and traditions.”
Egypt, this five-thousand year plus nation is on the cusp of contributing great things on the world stage yet again, and this time, a lot of it is coming from creatives. “I believe that Egypt is full of heritage and culture that has a powerful story to tell. RAMLA is here for a purpose, to revive Egyptian craftsmanship and to empower women, making them appreciate their value of work,” beams Hamed.
Published at Fri, 07 May 2021 04:21:17 +0000
Article source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/allysonportee/2021/05/07/born-out-of-a-humanitarian-spirit-reem-alaa-hamed-is-guiding-her-egyptian-shoe-brand-ramla-to-new-heights/